This is the CD reissue of the LP released in 1985 with the soundtrack for Ruy Guerra's film Ópera do Malandro, which was based in the homonymous musical by Chico Buarque. Buarque himself opens the album singing "A Volta do Malandro," a samba with modern harmony and orchestrations. The lyrics talk about the return of the Malandro, an epic figure in the Carioca imagery which constitutes the local lunpenproletariat, finding his way in the dark scenery of powerful crime lords and low-life prostitutes, always professing a peculiar and sometimes highly ethic (in his own way) credo. Ney Matogrosso comes next with the challenging melody and the Caribbean sounds of "Las Muchachas de Copacabana," talking about upcountry girls who come to Rio to be "Martinica attractions." Ney Latorraca interprets the somber "Hino da Repressão" (Repression Anthem), describing the horrors of discretionary police in a Kurt Weill way. Gal Costa sings "O Ultimo Blues" (The Last Blues), a hybrid of blues/funk that tells the history of a seduced showbiz girl. "O Tango do Covil" (Den's Tango) is a tango interpreted by the vocal group Os Muchachos. Zizi Possi, with her delicate strength, is a perfect choice for the beautiful "Sentimental." "Aquela Mulher," a romantic samba-canção of modern melodic inspiration, also had a wonderfully suited interpreter in Paulinho da Viola. "Palavra de Mulher" is a sample of Buarque's sensibility when talking about the feminine image without stereotyping or stylizing, and the somewhat tender, aggressive rendition by Elba Ramalho is quite appropriate. Buarque comes back in another version for "Hino da Repressão," this time inspired in Cuban son. "Rio 42" is a marcha-rancho interpreted with lightness by Bebel. The record works quite well by itself, due to the strong qualities of both compositions and interpretations, and is quite enjoyable without the movie at hand.
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AllMusic Review by Alvaro Neder
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